1851 Tasting Notes
Yesterday I was running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, so I didn’t get a chance to sit down and really have a cup of tea, apart from the cold brewed tea at lunch. It felt so wrong! I mean, I’m used to not having tea on the weekends, especially in the summer, because I don’t do a lot of tea drinking at home, but at work I almost always have my morning and afternoon teas, and I had neither!
Anyway, today should be a bit better. This tea smells lemony and citrusy and bright, and should definitely help perk me up this morning. This cup doesn’t have the very slight bitterness that the first one had. The black tea base is very smooth this morning, with the bright lemongrass and citrus popping through and almost making my tongue tingle.
I jumped on this pack of free samples of oolongs when it showed up as a great chance to further my oolong education. These oolongs are all dark, which I generally don’t have much experience with. I’m not brewing them gong-fu style since I don’t have the setup for it, so I read up a little bit and settled on these steeping parameters for now.
The dry leaf smells roasty, but also sweet too. The leaves are fairly long and loosely twisted. The tea brewed up lighter than I expected, a medium amber color, and it has a lightish aroma that smells a bit like roasted grains.
The flavor is extremely light. I have a feeling that I didn’t have a correct tea/water ratio, which is a feeling I get often from these dark oolongs. The greens I don’t seem to have a problem steeping “traditionally” in a mug, but the darks trip me up. Anyway, it’s light but roasty and sweet. Really I’m getting more flavor in the aftertaste than in the sip itself. I definitely think I would really like it if I could get it right! Sigh. I guess I won’t rate this one until I can try it again. Fortunately I have a very generous sample to play around with.
I’m at home today because I’m having some kind of crazy hives reaction to something. Bleh. Compounding that is a bitter taste in my mouth after eating/drinking anything, which apparently comes from the pine nuts I used to make pesto recently. Apparently the subspecies from China can cause a bitter aftertaste for several days; I haven’t had this problem with pine nuts in the past, but I looked and sure enough, the package I just bought is a product of China, and the one’s I had before were from Spain. Lesson learned.
Anyway, I have a few teas here at home that I haven’t tried yet, but I didn’t want to make them and have the taste influenced by this bitter aftertaste, so I went with a tried and true. Any bittnerness in this one is not it’s fault!
I was in the mood for a floral oolong, so I decided to try this one again. The brewed tea has a lovely floral/roasty/milky aroma. I was wondering what this one would taste like with a slightly longer steeping time, but since almost everyone seems to have steeped this one for a short time I chickened out because didn’t want to ruin the tea. Brewed like this, I only start really enjoying it once it has significantly cooled and the natural sweetness starts to make itself known. Once it hits that point, though, it’s quite a lovely cup.
I used the rest of my sample of this tea for a cold steep. My goodness if it wasn’t rosey! The first sip tasted like I had bitten into a fresh rose turkish delight. Like the hot steep, the bergamot just can’t compete, and this tea seems primarily like a rose black. The bergamot gives a little bright note, but nothing that I could positively identify as bergamot. The rose is very sweet, like Harney’s Rose Scented. As tasty as it is, I’m afraid it just doesn’s succeed as Rose Earl Grey, so I’m marking it down a bit based on that. It is a decent rose-scented black, however.
In need of a robust black tea this morning, I decided to give this one a try again. This time I’m steeping it longer based on my previous experience.
I think the flavors come through better, and it certainly didn’t get any bitterness. The bergamot is much more forward and citrusy. I’m definitely enjoying this cup more, but I still don’t think it stands out to me among other Earl Greys. But the flavors are very well executed and blend well together, and I definitely wouldn’t turn down a cup of it.
Last of my Golden Moon samples. I haven’t quite taken to white tea so far… it’s not that I dislike it, but I have yet to have one that’s blown me away or had me coming back for more. I suppose Harney’s Winter White Earl Grey is a possible exception. Anyway, I do love melons, so I had to try this one anyway.
The leaf is fairly long and twisty with some long stems, and a fair amound of fuzzy leaves too, and I’m not sure that I ended up with enough tea in my infusion basket. It smells amazing, like the freshest, ripest, sweetest juicy canteloupe, with perhaps some light honeyish notes underneath. Brewed, it smells melony but subdued, and the tea has come forward a bit.
I’m afraid I didn’t put enough leaf in the cup, because the flavor is very light. Still, the melon is definitely present: sweet, juicy, like having a slice of fresh canteloupe. The tea adds a flavor almost like when you eat down to the rind and you get that green, fresh flavor. I’m really enjoying this one even a little weak; it’s delicious and pretty unique, at least to my tea cupboard right now.
Edited: Ok, I took my already steeped leaves and dumped the rest of my sample pack in with them. I know Golden Moon sample packs are only supposed to be one serving, but they usually include a little more leaf than I would typically use in my 12oz cup, so I’ve been measuring out what I usually use and then I’ll see what’s left after that. Since the white tea is so light I put the rest of it in and steeped as before. The liquor is much darker this time, but the tea is, surprisingly, not as good! The melon flavor is just not as evident and it lacks the natural sweetness of before. Too much leaf this time? I dunno, but this isn’t doing much for my experiences with white teas!
This tea is so tasty hot, so I thought it would be good cold steeped, but I was so wrong. There was some horrible disgusting aftertaste… it’s a shame because I wasted some of this tea on what turned out to be a failed experiment. I guess if I want nutty cold steeped tea I should stick to Trois Noix.